10 thoughts on “All right, now I’ve done…”

  1. Did you just not see the whole debate in the first go-round? Because I think if you’d entered it then, at least to mention that you’d met the guy and he seemed like an okay person, then you might have been able to humanize him early on and it could have deflected some of the worst of the bile. Now I think it’s just too late–not only did he start the problem by telling people to lie to editors, but he acted like a complete ass when he finally got around to coming to Theresa’s site. Like, not a little bit of an ass, but a complete ass.

    You’re right that the Making Light crowd got vicious, and you’re right that they did so in a way that probably crossed a line. But I have to say I’m convinced that Pierce’s website (where this did all start from, after all) was just wrong. Not “wrong but maybe it’s okay to fabricate credits in lit fic”, not “wrong but only by virtue of using unfortunate rhetorical techniques”, but wrong, full stop.

  2. On a lighter note, it’s been a long time since I was around people who used ‘uf da’ regularly, and reading it here made me feel all complicatedly nostalgic.

  3. I agree he acted like a complete ass, but I dunno — it seemed like an understandable ass to me. He came into a really brutal shredding of his name and character, most of his reaction took place during the course of one day, he calmed down considerably just in the course of that day. So stupid reaction, yes, but no more so than I think many otherwise sane and reasonable people would react.

    As for the question of whether his advice was wrong — well, it’s interesting. I’m having a parallel discussion about all this with the lit fic folks I know, many of whom edit quite respectable journals. And their take on this is much much mellower than the spec fic people. They honestly don’t seem to care much if you make up some minor credits. Not so much that they think it’s a good idea either — they just don’t care. I think the standards are very different. Not to say that I agree with the lit fic standards — I tend to be hard-line about this stuff for myself and my students — but it does make the whole tangle more understandable.

  4. I think it was decent of you to remind people there was an actual person involved, not just letters on a screen — it’s good for people to remember that. It doesn’t make his advice any *less* good, but it could serve to keep people focused on deconstructing his ideas and not him personally.

    I’m mildly appalled that litfic folks seem comfortable with lying on cover letters; it seems to imply a certain level of institutional feelings of inadequacy.

  5. More that they just hardly pay attention to cover letters. Keep in mind that most of these journal submissions are initially read by graduate students or undergrads — the one time I participated, we utterly ignored the cover letters. So I think their attitude was more that it wasn’t a lie about anything important to them…

  6. Dunno. We pretty thoroughly ignore cover letters at Strange Horizons, and I’d still be deeply annoyed to find out someone had lied in one.

  7. What I notice is that there are two conflicting statements that you make, Maryann. The first is that you don’t really know him, and the second is that he seems like a decent guy. Face it, most people seem like a decent guy on just one interaction, especially if you’re a normal, trusting individual. Or two, or three. Every now and then you pick up the weird vibe right away, but… That’s where the “he seemed like a perfectly normal neighbor” comments come from when someone turns out to be homicidal.

    Which seems more likely, that he’s a creep whose creepiness wasn’t immediately obvious or that he’s a decent guy who gave some REALLY inappropriate advice? That’s a question each person can answer for themselves, but my suggestion to you, Maryann, is that you not put YOUR reputation behind his – when you really can’t say.

    As someone completely outside the fray, the people I was most tempted to defend were the ones who attacked him. I think they took the “stupid thing, heat of moment, out of context” possibilities into consideration and decided he didn’t qualify.

  8. Having been raised in the Scandihoovian world of Northern Wisconsin, I feel I should warn you that the more correct spelling is “Uffda.” My wife (100% Norske) says it is one word.

    On a less important issue, lying of the type under discussion is always wrong, no matter the genre, and it will sit waiting to bite you in the butt in future years. The person under discussion ought to know that.

  9. I thought it was incredibly noble of you. Everybody keeps saying to recommend lying is wrong–yes, yes. It’s thoroughly established. We can count the times, but at what point do we cease the flogging? To mix my metaphors, I admire your stepping into the reactor to prevent the reaction going nuclear.

  10. …which is not to say that I don’t appreciate TNH’s instruction. I always enjoy her editorial perspectives.

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